A test knitter’s notes are critical, because designers want feedback from our experience. I’d like to take you into my experience by sharing with you the journal that I started for test knitting. (For those of you who are wondering: I have a daytime job and kids, but I averaged about 3.5 to 5 hours of knitting a day for this project.)
Test Knit #15
8.18.20 7:46 pm
Started a new test knit for Mieka John. A little nervous—only my second steeking project and a new stitch for me, the tuck stitch (similar to brioche). Mieka was encouraging and said it was OK I was inexperienced. Really wanted to stretch my skills and hoping I don’t regret it. Fingers crossed.
Read the entire pattern and it all made sense.
Didn’t have time to order suggested yarn and went through my stash to see what I had.
Got gauge using size 6 needles. (To do: send swatch to mom).
Pattern all marked up
8.19.20 10:47 pm
Third sweater in a row using non-superwash is definitely making my hands ache. Stopped after 5.5 hours.
So far so good—raglan and stockinette. Shared with Mieka: Instructions are clear and make sense.
8.21.20 7:17 pm
5.25 hours knitting
EEK—feeling already behind. ARGH!! I should have started earlier.
(Note to self: need to give myself 4 to 6 weeks for each test knit.) I can do it! I can do it!
8.22.20 7:03 pm—12:18 am
I did it—steeked—video instruction was helpful and instructions were clear—few notes to clarify.
Can’t believe it—I steeked!
Send Mieka a note: She has a knack of explaining complicated techniques in written form—not an easy task.
More stockinette for the pocket liner.
I-cord hem—another new technique video was helpful and did it! Whoa.
Hand is aching again today—switched to Addi metal needles from Lykke and didn’t seem to make a difference.
8.24.20 7:19 pm–11:57 pm
Worked on lining for pockets, straightforward. Send notes re this section. A little confusing but read the instructions a few times until it clicked.
The yarn broke!!! ARGH. Darn.
Starting the neck and started the tuck stitch—something is off—it doesn’t look like the pictures I’ve seen of Mieka’s sweater—emailed her to ask if there’s a tutorial. Googled tutorials for tuck stitch and didn’t find any.
8.25.20 9:08 pm
Mieka emailed back and sent me a video—can’t believe it—my own personal tutorial. Watched it a few times and it’s a lot like brioche. I didn’t have the yarn in front for the YO so the brk1 didn’t look right—fixed it and finally in a groove with the neck. Love it.
(To do tomorrow: Share notes re formatting the pattern with Mieka.)
8.26.20 ARGH—didn’t get to knit at all today. Send note to Mieka: Not going to make the deadline.
A few reflections
Test knitters aren’t invincible! This particular test knit stretched my knitting skills and was most definitely a challenge for me at times. Makes me love this test knit even more (and there was lot of cussing in the process, as I’m used to knitting as intuitive).
If you’re a perfectionist like me, maybe stick with the things you know and love about test knitting—deadlines, pressure, creative process, etc.
A handful of test knit projects helped keep me motivated and back in my knitting groove during this pandemic.
I did finish!
[Editor’s Update: Find this pattern—Mieke John’s Breukelen—in the recent issue of Laine Magazine, Issue 10!]